Segments in this Video

"Little Sparta": Introduction (01:56)


Ian Hamilton Finlay is a poet, printmaker, and sculptor who refuses to speak on camera after a stroke incapacitated him. The garden is located in the Pentland Hills close to Edinburgh. There will be little narration throughout the film.

Impressions (02:45)

Epicurious examined the individual's right to life, liberty, and safety, teaching in his garden. Alexander Pope compared a garden to landscape painting. Finlay said that it is a process not a completed work.

The Temple Pool Garden (03:15)

In the center of "Little Sparta," there is a temple dedicated to Apollo, the god of the sun, music, and poetry. Classical mythology, the sea, and the French Revolution are common themes in the garden. Objects present are witty and moral.

Poems (02:55)

Objects include allusions to Dante, Ovid, and Virgil. Finlay's own visual poetry is throughout "Little Sparta."

The English Parkland (02:10)

There is a monument paying homage to the ships that were handed over to America during World War II. Other sculptures include stones with carved words on them, benches, and bridges.

The Woodland Garden (01:51)

See footage of this area of "Little Sparta." Sculptures include broken pillars, carved stones, and fences,

Revolution (02:08)

Listen to a quotation from Louis Antoine de Saint-Just. "Little Sparta" sculptures are neo-classic, reference famous figures, and allude to the French Revolution. Individuals include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Robespierre,

The Wild Garden and Lochan Eck (03:52)

A story by Ovid tells of Apollo's pursuit of Daphne. Objects in this section of "Little Sparta" include sculptures, stone pathways, carved benches, and a grotto.

The Twentieth Century (02:36)

References are made to the Aircraft Carrier Torso, the Dido Tragedy, the battle of Midway, and Loosestrife. "Little Sparta" is a garden of poetry drenched in mythology and history.

Credits: Ian Hamilton Finlay (00:31)

Credits: Ian Hamilton Finlay

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Ian Hamilton Finlay

Part of the Series : theEYE, Series 3: Sculpture, Public Art and Ceramics
DVD (Chaptered) Price: $129.95
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $194.93
3-Year Streaming Price: $129.95



From previously barren moorland in the Pentland Hills near Edinburgh, Ian Hamilton Finlay has created a unique garden as an encompassing work of art. Little Sparta is a magical combination of culture and horticulture, poetry and planting, philosophy and myth. Ian Hamilton Finlay began his work at Little Sparta in the mid-1960s. With friends and collaborators, around a group of old farm buildings he has fashioned landscapes, streams, bridges, glades, lanes, bowers and more. Everywhere there are inscriptions and sculptures reflecting the artist’s preoccupations: the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, pre-Socratic philosophy, garden history, World War Two, the sea and fishing fleets, time and mortality. Ian Hamilton Finlay chooses now not to speak about his work in detail. Made to celebrate the artist’s 80th birthday in 2005, this film offers only a spare narration to complement a lushly visual showcase of the beauties, provocations and puzzles of Little Sparta.

Length: 25 minutes

Item#: BVL194752

ISBN: 978-1-64867-395-5

Copyright date: ©2005

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.